Yesterday was a significant day over here at Wanderland HQ — my third travel-and-blogaversary. This post is a toast to three years of wanderlust, three years of location independent employment, and three years of pouring my heart out here on Alex in Wanderland.
This year I learned more about myself, my travel style and my professional aspirations than I ever have before. The highs were high but the lows dipped down there as well. I fell in love and said goodbye to it, I made bad business decisions, I had a minor health scare, my family lost a dear friend, and I set my sights on a new continent and realized it just didn’t fill the Southeast Asia-sized hole in my heart. Yet from breaking it down in Coney Island for the Mermaid Parade to breaking the Ramadan fast with my Indonesian neighbors, from partying in the Nevada desert for Burning Man to burning my paper mache mask during the Ecuadorian New Year, from sailing across Lake Titicaca for Puno Day in Peru to watching floats sail through New Orleans for Mardi Gras, something was always there to grab me by the shoulders and remind me how lucky I am to be alive and exploring the world.
Is it cliché to say it’s been a whirlwind? Like last year and the one before, I’m going to celebrate with a mix of nostalgia and number crunching.
My Year in Travels
With the exception of a six week dip back to Indonesia, the entirety of my third year of travels was spent exploring the Americas.
My third year of travel kicked off stateside, where I was doing my usual bop between Albany and New York City (with a Father’s Day jaunt to Philadelphia thrown in for good measure). I wrapped up my home visit in style with a whirlwind trip to Miami to party at the iHeart Radio concert, the first group press trip I ever accepted. There I met up with my South Beach-based cousin, some of my favorite fellow bloggers… and Ke$ha. Yes, Ke$ha.
After spending six weeks in Indonesia towards the end of my second year of travel, I knew I didn’t quite have the country out of my system yet. So I returned for another round, basically repeating my original itinerary exactly: Nusa Lembongan, Gili Trawangan, Bali. However, I spiced things up with a three day trek to Mount Rinjani, taking part in a shark release, and challenging myself with a big video project. The best part of Indonesia? Sleeping in one bed for a month straight, the only time I did so all year.
In August, I jetted back to the US for eight weeks, primarily to check a major item of my bucket list: attending Burning Man. It was, true to stereotype, a life-changing experience.
Yet this was a hectic period, to say the least — aside from those ten days in the desert, I also did bridesmaid duty in Pennsylvania, checked in on my mom’s new house in Martha’s Vineyard, showed a special guest around New York, returned to Albany for a not-so-fun surgery, and prepared for my next major adventure.
My arrival in Peru marked a major milestone for me: my first time in South America, and my first real attempt at long-term travel outside Southeast Asia. I spent more than ten weeks falling for this incredibly diverse country, from the deserts to the highlands to the lush jungles, and I couldn’t even begin to list all the amazing adventures I had. I also flexed a variety of travel styles, from traveling solo to traveling with my college best friend (who came down to hike the Inca Trail with me!) to eventually traveling as a couple when Anders arrived in Cusco.
Our three and a half weeks in Ecuador had some fabulous highlights — we rang in Christmas by the beach in Montañita and New Year’s Eve in the mountain town of Baños — yet it was an unsettling time. It was here that I came to terms with the fact that I had slowly slipped into a bit of a depression, and I needed a change. Rather than continue overland, we switched gears and flew into Central America.
Panama brought me back to life. I savored my four and a half weeks in this tiny isthmus, and fantasized about snapping up a condo in Panama City and a beach house in Bocas del Toro and never leaving. Panama reminded me that tropical heat, white sand beaches, and being within reach of scuba tank are important ingredients to my ideal life. It also reignited my love for Central America — I’ve previously taken individual trips to Costa Rica, Belize, and Honduras — and I’m now itching to get back and explore more of the region soon.
7. Costa Rica
My week in Costa Rica was short and sweet — just enough time to check out the infamous beach town of Puerto Viejo, visit my high school student exchange hosts in San Jose, and catch a flight to New Orleans.
At the end of February, I returned to my homeland for a seriously long stateside stint — four and a half months without hopping an international border! Of course in that time (which will bring me into year four) I’ll take on a total of eight states, so I’m not exactly sitting still. My domestic drifting kicked off with ten days in Lousiana to visit my sister and celebrate Mardi Gras followed by two weeks in California to hit up Disneyland, attend a stylish Palm Springs wedding and visit a friend in the Bay Area.
After touching back down on the East Coast I made my way to New Jersey to speak at the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame meeting, to New York to pretend I’m still a Brooklynite, to Las Vegas for a girl’s weekend with my oldest friend, to Philadelphia to visit my dad, to Lake George to watch the first of my high school friends get hitched, and of course to my hometown of Albany to catch my breath a few times between. Phew! I then returned to Las Vegas again for an adrenaline-filled trip with Visit Nevada, and to Hawaii for the fabulous #seeMaui adventure.
But yes, for the third year in a row, I’m celebrating my travelversary from the familiar shores of the good old USA — this time, from my new home away from home in Martha’s Vineyard. In less than a month again I’ll be taking off again on another major journey, but for now I’m enjoying letting my passport cool off for a bit while I explore my own backyard.
My Year in Numbers
Countries Visited: 6
New Countries Visited: 3 (Down one from last year, but bringing my grand total to 23!)
States Visited: 9
Plane Rides Taken: 23 one way flights (I count a flight as a flight regardless of how many segments or layovers it has). Of those flights, four were basically free thanks to points, six were paid for by work, five were under $100 each, and the remaining eight inspired me to keep chasing the travel hacking dream.
Tents Slept In: 4, for a total of 14 nights.
Beds Slept In: 71. Of those, 27 were hostels, 19 were hotels, 6 were guesthouses, 2 were motels, 11 were crashing with family or friends, 3 were jungle lodges, one was a national park ranger station, one was a cruise ship cabin, and one was an apartment I rented.
Dives: 22. This is less than half the amount I managed the past two years. Bummer, but not bad considering I wasn’t working in the industry and I wasn’t traveling in dive heavy destinations. In fact, more than half of these dives were done in my one month in Panama. I’m hoping this number will be way higher next year.
Conferences Attended: 2, The New York Travel Fest in New York and Beneath The Sea in New Jersey.
Weddings Attended: 3, in Pennsylvania, Palm Springs, and Lake George.
Posts Written: 235. Up eight from last year.
Comments Responses Left: 3,038.
Dollars Spent: Roughly $25,000. That number doesn’t necessarily represent straight travel costs — it also includes several thousand dollars in business expenses like my taxes, the money I lost to a site design scam, and the money I’ve put aside for a real new site design. But this was the year that things really turned around for me, financially — I netted an overall profit instead of a loss for the first time!
My Year in Blogging
This year was a major turning point for me in my pursuit of a location independent lifestyle — I turned a profit! For the past two years, overall I’ve spent more than I earned and made up the difference by dipping into my savings. This year, I almost doubled both my income and my bottom line in my bank accounts. Blogging profit — made up of sponsored content, affiliate sales, and brand partnerships — made up 61% of my earnings, with freelance writing, graphic design, and video work making up the final 39%. The recent months have been a tumultuous time for many bloggers, myself included, as Google algorithm updates have dried up my primary income source and forced me to seriously reevaluate how I make my money. But looking at how much I’ve accomplished in the past year gives me hope that I can survive the changing tides.
But hey, no one gets into blogging to get rich, right? (Well, at least they shouldn’t.) That’s just a means to keep moving. What really makes my heart beat faster are things like starting new series such as Earning Abroad and Becoming a Divemaster and seeing what wonderful feedback they get, being named a Viator Ambassador and working with brands I believe in, being invited on trips alongside my blogging mentors, and doubling my unique monthly visitors and monthly page views to 28,000 and 110,000, respectively. I’ve experimented with my writing and photography styles this year, trying out posts that are more factual or more philosophical than my usual travel tales, and your continued support and constructive feedback while I keep finding my voice has meant so much to me.
Above all, I am still incredibly humbled by the fact that anyone comes to spend part of their day here with me, and honored that so many take the time to reach out in response. One example of a gratifying moment I’ve had was meeting with a long time reader who had a ticket to Southeast Asia when my posts on the Banana Bungalow caught her eye and caused her to change her flight. A year later, she hasn’t left Maui. That really blew my mind in the most wonderful kind of way. I think back to the first travel blog I discovered and how that changed my life, and things get a little emotional up in here. I promise not to break into a rendition of kumbaya, guys, but I’m seriously moved by the community that has developed in Wanderland and the way things have come full circle. Other bloggers have actually commented to me that I have the best and most passionate readers on the interwebs, and I couldn’t agree more.
But at the same time — my honeymoon with self employment is over. With the excitement of turning a profit came the realities of paying taxes, making bad business decisions, and occasionally getting in seriously over my head. Yes, I look back on this year and I’m overwhelmed with gratefulness for all the literal and figurative mountains I climbed, the exotic places I watched the sun rise and set from, and all the opportunities that came my way. But I’m also overwhelmed with how overwhelmed I was, and how subtly but significantly my work/travel/life balance fell out of sync. I had to remind myself more than once that I didn’t strike out on my own in order to stay up all night weeping over my out of control to-do list, or snap at my loved ones because I can’t take the heat. Getting my priorities refocused and my balance back on track is one of my major goals moving forward.
Out of 235 posts, these were some of my favorite of the year.
The Road is Life • The Pursuit of Happiness • The Cost of Burning Man • Let’s Talk: How Much Drinking is Too Much Drinking? • Let’s Talk: Can you Make Local Friends? • How Citibank Screwed Me
The Cheaplympics • (Over)packing for Peru • The Colca Canyon: A Comedy of Hangovers • Kids Say the Darndest Things
Most Creative Content (videos and other artistic experiments!)
What to do on Gili Trawangan • Making a Home in Martha’s Vineyard • Peru by Polaroid • Tucker’s Tails • My New Country Crush: Panama
The Crumbling Charms of Iquitos • Casco Viejo: Heart and Soul of Panama City
Thoughts on Coming Back • Ten Reflections on the Ten Principles of Burning Man • Ethics of Zoos and Aquariums • On Privacy
How I Scored $1,500 in Free Hotels • How Much Does a Month in Paradise • My Peru Packing List Update • Inca Trail Tips • Where to Eat in Mancora • Why I Love Solid Shampoo
Goals for Year Four
Looking forward, I’m no longer paralyzed with fear that I won’t be able to sustain my travels financially. But I do have concerns that I won’t be able to sustain them emotionally, if I don’t make a few changes. And thus my goals are:
• To bring more spontaneity back into my travels.
• To work smarter, develop office hours, and find more effective ways to manage stress and expectations.
• To return to Southeast Asia.
• To slow down my travel pace in order to reflect the fact that I am not just a carefree backpacker, I am running a business from the road.
• To find a more significant way to give back to both the communities I visit on my travels and the community I’ve built here.
Putting together this post and the hours of reflection and introspection it has inspired has left me filled with hope and gratitude. I still hold dear the belief that helped me leap out into the world unknown on June 9th, 2011 — travel has the power to be transformative. Where will I be on June 9th, 2015 — not just physically, but in my heart and mind?
Know that wherever you are in the world, I’m toasting to you right now. Alex in Wanderland wouldn’t be what it is without you, whether you’re one of my most active commenters (love you guys!) or someone who checks in silently every once in a while (but please feel welcome to say hi!).
Congrats! Excited to see your next adventures. And hope to hang out again soon 🙂
Thanks Annie! Indeed — meeting you was a highlight of NYTF!
mine too 🙂
Congratulations on your three year blogaversary! Loved reading this recap of an amazing year (even though there were some lows). I hugely enjoyed following you on all your adventures and I loved re-reading your stories about Iquitos and Casco Viejo. Those posts were among the best posts I read of any blogger this year. And I follow quite a few of them!
That is a huge compliment Karlijn, thank you so much! I would like to focus more on doing quality writing like that. Your comment will be a nice encouragement 🙂
Love these yearly roundups! Can’t wait to read about your adventures in Hawaii, Europe, and back in Southeast Asia!
There is a lot to look forward to! I am really looking forward to the next six months… and the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing after that!
Congratulations on your third year! I have been reading your blog since the beginning and you are such an inspiration and mentor to me! I am always amazed by how entertained and excited your articles make me. You have it down girl! xx
Wow Jo, that is so lovely (and humbling!) to read. I really appreciate your kind words and all your continued support!
Congrats, Alex! I always look forward to your funny yet informative posts — and your beautiful photography. Can’t wait to see you next time you’re in NYC (or maybe somewhere else around the world)!
You’re the best, Jessie, thank you! I’ll never forget out first TBEX 🙂 So bummed I won’t be making it this year, but let’s hang soon!
Today is your travel and blogaversary, but it’s also my readerversary – I started reading your blog exactly a year ago today! I’m so happy I stumbled upon it randomly one day, as your blog is now my favorite go-to read. You’re so talented in so many ways, and I hope you know how truly inspiring you are to others (especially people like me who are fellow bloggers!). Can’t wait to follow along on the next year of adventure, I’m sure it will be the best year for you yet! 🙂
Aw, that is so fun to hear, Sara! Glad you stuck around, and thanks for coming along on my travels with me. I am getting all kinds of warm fuzzies from your comment <3
Oh Alex, I just wrote a long comment but it was lost somewhere on the interwebs. I won’t repeat everything I said but the gist was: You’re awesome, I’ve been reading for about forever and to think how much my life has changed since I started reading… = you’ve been inspiring people for a long time! Do what works for you, and know that your time is valuable (aka worth being paid for) and that it’s ok to morph from backpacker to business woman in a bikini 😉 also don’t forget that SE Asia-shaped hole in your heart!
Nooo! I can’t stand when my comments get eaten. Argh! Well I truly appreciate the cliff notes version… you da best, girl! I LOVE this: “It’s ok to morph from backpacker to business woman in a bikini.” I seriously might use “business woman in a bikini” on my about page, if that’s okay 🙂
Happy Blogaversary! It’s been fun to watch your voice and your travels grow and change. I’ve become addicted to the blog, anxiously awaiting new posts! I always appreciate your honesty about both the wonderful parts and the hardships of long-term travel and blogging. Hope Year 4 is your best yet!
You are too sweet, Mary! Thank you for these kind words and warm wishes… I have a really good feeling about the upcoming year!
Congrats, Alex! Can’t wait for what’s next in Wanderland. 🙂
Thanks Laryssa! I need to do an update post about my upcoming adventure, it’s a big one!
Congrats on 3 years!!! Thanks for being my absolute favourite blogger ever, I have enjoyed virtually coming along with you on your travels. Keep up the good work!
You are so welcome Rachael — and thank you so much for hanging out with me here and leaving fabulous comments like this one 🙂 You’re the best!
Congrats, Alex! 🙂 So fun to have followed along for the past few years and to have finally met. PS tried Sugar Sunshine Bakery yesterday and it was the BOMB. Let me know next time you’re in town!
So glad you share my love for SSB! I’m in the city next week — let’s do a date there!
Wonderful post, and congratulations! Year 3 is the year I became a fan. Love your videos on Tripfilms and love your blog! 🙂
Thank you so much Jamie, I’ve loved becoming a part of the Tripfilms community!
Congratulations on reaching three years and turning in a profit. Well deserved. Here’s to year 4.
Thank you Steve, that means a lot! Here’s to year four indeed!
Congratulations on your Blogaversary 🙂 Looking forward to several of them! May you grow with your blog and vice versa.
Thank you Rekha! We’ll see how long I can keep this dream running 🙂
Geez! wtf! this made me cry. thank you for sharing your thoughts and summing up your year of travel! once again, fantastic post! Good luck with year 4!
Aw, I hope they were happy tears 🙂 Thanks Sherwin.
Alex, everything about you and this blog never ceases to amaze me. You bring us along with you not only in your fun travels, but the difficult times too — battling deadlines, working with a chaotic schedule, pushing through health issues. I am so thankful that you continue to share your story! You’ve inspired me to finally get my blog started, to work hard at building my personal business so that I can work for myself entirely, and to travel to more places and do more things than I would have ever imagined.
Forever grateful that my Thailand trip prep led me to you over a year ago, and I will continue to follow and watch you grow! Congratulations… and I love the roundup photos you chose for this post. Perfect.
Thank you so much for this heartfelt comment, Kristen. I love it! Kudos to you for all your hard work as well. And thank you for the photo compliment… do you know how hard it is to narrow down a year’s worth into a single post?! Torture!
Corny but true – you have def inspired me to take a look at my “real life” and figure out how to put more travel into it so that I don’t waste my “real life” not living in the real world! Er, hopefully that made sense. Thanks for all the posting and sharing you do, it’s so fun to follow along!
That is humbling and lovely to hear, Maddy. Thank you so much! I always look forward to your comments. xo
Wowza! What a talented and gifted young woman you are Alex! It’s funny (in a good way!) to think that every few days I anxiously and excitedly ‘check in’ on someone I’ve never met! It was a wonderful day when I found Wanderland! Thank you so much, for all that you have done for me without even realising! without doubt, you are my favourite person that I don’t know! Heehee!
Hah, Caity, I understand that better than anyone… my readers and regular commenters definitely feel like dear friends to me. Thanks for continuing to check in 🙂
Congratulations on 3 years! I feel bad for not commenting enough but I honestly look forward to every new post and check everyday for the next one! You are an inspiration and I hope you feel proud of yourself. I love that I feel, as I am sure everyone else does, that I know you as your personality comes across in every posts – and I hope you find the balance between work and everything else, health should always come first x
This made me smile big time, Yasemin! Thank you so much for coming along on my journey, and I always love hearing from you 🙂
Congratulations Alex! I thought this was a good post to break out of my creepy viewing-but-commenting habit. I saw that Colca Canyon made it into the funniest category! I’ll be attempting to make it back into the blog every year (but maybe not at the expense of donkeys this time). Lots of love and I’ll see you soon!
David Rogers! Colca Canyon ABSOLUTELY made it into the funniest category, because what’s funnier than four kids trying their darnedest to die in deepest canyon in South America? (Don’t fact check me on that.) So, does this mean you’re coming to America/Southeast Asia sometime soon?
Congratulations on your three year blogaversary! I stumbled across your page last year, and I don’t think there has been a day since where I haven’t been on your blog reading and following your adventures! I want to thank you for all the work you put it. You are a huge inspiration to me – after reading your posts about Peru, the first thing my sister and I did was book a flight there for this year, and since then we have both started up our own travel blogs! So thank you, thank you, thank you! All the best for year 4! 🙂 x
That’s so fun for me to hear Kelly, you’re going to love Peru! Maybe someday someone will be commenting on your blog telling you how your trip there inspired their own 🙂 Travel is contagious!
You get passion from your readers because you give passion in spades. For this reason & many others, if I only have time to read one blog post in a day, it is always yours.
Thank you for everything you do & congratulations!!!
You da bomb, Becky! I have never really thought about it that way but you are right — it’s very reciprocal. So much love here in Wanderland!
What an amazing year! Despite the lows, you sound so positive now and that’s all that we can be right? Good luck in year 4, I can’t wait to see where it takes you!
I am definitely trying to look up up and up after a tough few months! And how can I not, with all the fun things ahead? 🙂
Seriously though, Alex, I truly enjoy your website. It makes my day when there’s a new post to read! Although I’m not a full-time traveler, I have been living overseas for nearly 3 years, and I make time for jaunts away from Taiwan anytime I can. Your writing always inspires me to look beyond my borders!
Thanks for all the wonderful posts. Congratulations on three years and here’s to year four!
Well that just makes my day to hear, Katie! Sounds like you are in a pretty great location for weekend getaways in my favorite region 🙂 Hope you’re enjoying expat life!
Congrats on the very big anniversaries, Alex! I can’t wait to see what you get up to in the next year.
Thank you so much Amanda! How long have you been blogging for now?!
More than 4 years, if you can believe it! Actually my 4-year move-to-self-hosting anniversary is coming up next month. Maybe I should do an anniversary post, too!
Um YES PLEASE I love roundup posts! They are so much work, but I kind of love crunching numbers so also so much fun 🙂 And yeah technically this is my “move-to-self-hosting-versary” as well because I did start blogging in 2009 under a differently named Wordpress site.
Congrats on your 3 years on the road. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, travels and all! 🙂 Cheers to the 4th year and may plenty of good things go your way! 😀
Thank you so much Pamela! I’m cheersing with ya!
Happy anniversary! I truly love reading your blog. It makes me dream of far off places and lights a fire under my butt to travel more. As a self employed person it’s very hard creating the work life balance. I had the realization last year after a breakdown in front of a client (thank god it was my bosses wife) that it’s ok to not work all the time. Here is to many more. And I hope to always read about it.
For as long as I’m doing it, you’ll be reading about it 🙂 Nice to hear I’m not the only one who’s been skirting the edge of a self-employment breakdown. Kudos to you for coming to your senses! I think I’m almost there…
Congratulations Alex! I only discovered your website in January and it’s very quickly become my bible.
That is quite the compliment Lucy — love it! <3
Congratulations on your third year! I truly hope and believe that year four will be amazing for you.
I can’t thank you enough for being such an inspiration to me 🙂
You are so darn welcome, girl! We need more fabulous women divers out there, so you always have all my support. Kudos to you!
Happy birthday, Alex in Wanderland!
Crack a bourbon for me, girl!
Congrats on year 3! I look forward to reading about more of your travels in year 4! 🙂
Thank you Jasmine! I have a lot of fun stuff coming up that I can’t wait to share!
I would like to extend my congratulations on your milestone. May you have more countries to conquer and more stories to share.
Muchas gracias, Jeanette! I’ve already got some great plans on the docket!
Hip hip, hooraaay!
Congrats on the three years!
A great round-up post this is. Will be following along during year 4 as well!
Thanks Sofie! I’m super excited to see what the next year holds…
Congratulations! I’m really courious which countries will you be visiting this year. Looking forward to discovering it.
Have fun! 🙂
I have a bit of an announcement post coming up in the next month which will reveal what I’m up to for the rest of 2014. Look out 🙂
Congratulations and thank for this really great Round Up of your last year. Your blog is one of the rare travel blogs that I just can’t stop reading. I love your style of writing and your absolutely beautiful pictures!
I wish you all the best for you next year of blogging! 🙂
Thank you so much Karina! I’m honored to make it into your daily reads — truly.
So happy for you!!!You deserve it all (well the good stuff only of course) Your blog is still my favorite and I can’t believe it’s been this long since we first started emailing. Congrats on three years! Here is to many more!!! =)
Thank you Caty! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate how you’ve stuck with me through the years. You’re the best!
Hi ALex! I recently found your blog and so far I’m loving it! I am about to embark on my first solo travel to Europe for a month or so before moving to London on a 2 year working visa, no idea what I’m doing, maybe we’ll meet up somewhere one day, who knows! xx
Sounds like you have awesome plans ahead! Enjoy the journey, and keep an eye out for me 🙂
over the last 6 months or so i find myself checking your blog multiple times a week- no idea how you manage to keep up with adding so much content! anyway- I’m off on another adventure of my own in europe, ill be keeping up with your blog though for sure!
Ha, it’s certainly not easy! I spend a ton of time on this blog (certainly more than a 9-5 most weeks) but I do love it. Creating content is my favorite part by far! Enjoy your European adventures x
as one of the silent followers i want to take this opportunity and let you know that i very much enjoyed this post. i check in most days and can’t wait to hear what you’ve been up to. it’s great inspiration for my own travels! i’m leaving for a two week trip to iceland tomorrow and thanks to your post, i will go snorkelling in silfra (i’m not a diver yet). so thank you for all the effort you put into this blog and i’m wishing you all the best for the coming year!
Awesome, annmadlen! I’m so excited to hear you’re heading to Iceland and even more so Silfra! I hope you love it every bit as much as I did. Thank you so much for reading and for saying hi today. Happy travels x
Lovely post Alex, Congrats on the 3 Years!
Thank you Carla! Feels very surreal!
Congratulations on 3 years!!!
Thanks Zoe! 🙂
Congratulations Alex! I love seeing your blog grow and I enjoy following your journey, and you inspire me to improve on scuba diving and exploring our seas! Keep up the adventures, and as always I am excited to ‘tag along’ via the blog 🙂
You’re welcome to come along any time, Jean 🙂 Happy dives and travels!
Congratulations on your blogaversary! I’m one of the mainly silent blog lurkers, but really enjoy following your travels and can’t wait to see where the next year takes you!
Thanks Lucy! Lurk away but I do love it when you say hi 🙂
Congrats on 3 years of travel!!! And I’m so happy for you that this year was the major turning point for your blog and business! I really love your blog and truly think it’s one of the best and most honest ones out there. I can’t wait to see where year 4 brings you, and hope that it will be the best one yet!
Thank you SO much Anna! It really gives me all the energy I need to power through when I get as positive feedback as this. Thank you for coming along for the ride!
Alex, I just love your blog and it felt amazing remembering all that we’ve (see, it’s almost as if we all take part on your journey!) seen through your eyes and your voice during the past year. Congrats on being so unique, it makes the whole difference! I guess what you’ve seen in South America just didn’t fit you at its best, but I guess if you ever get the chance to come to Brazil you might have a great time! It won’t be South East Asia, but I can surely picture you enjoying some great cocktails in the Northeast! Enjoy your ride and can’t wait to see what’s next!
Brazil is actually really high on my travel wish list, Susan 🙂 I’m definitely not done with South America, I just think in the future I might do shorter trips there — perhaps 5 weeks at a time instead of five months!
First of all, congrats on year three! That’s such an amazing achievement. And secondly, it must be such an awesome feeling to finally be turning a profit. It appears that all of your hard work (and talent, of course) has paid off! You should definitely relish the feeling 🙂 Clearly I’m not the only one who can’t wait to see what year four has in store for you. Happy travels!
Yeah, it felt good as soon as I started making enough money for day to day expenses but there would always be the big plane tickets or something that would set me back a bit and I knew my savings wouldn’t last forever! Definitely feels great to end the year with more money than I started with.
Congratulations Alex and Thank you for all the amazing content you share on your blog. Your blog is very inspirational to me, and if ever I question why I love to travel and am far away from home it’s a great place for me to come and refresh!
Aw, I love to her that Caroline! Thanks for reading!
Super inspiring! And your photography is just stunning!
Thank you so much! Well you know what they say about practice… and I’ve been practicing for three years non stop now!
That’s a very through roundup … sounds like you’ve got you’re stuff together. Best of luck in year 4!
I do like to be thorough 🙂 They are fun to look back on for me as well.
Congrats Alex! I have only been reading your blog for the past month or so but it has fast become one of my favourites due to your writing style and the frequency and variety of your posts. I hope that you can find the balance between work and play, I can definitely imagine it would be hard! Maybe I will bump into you in Asia next year, it is the one continent (other than Antartica) that I haven’t explored yet and I am finally going!
I’m hoping to get some reader meetups going once I’m back, Katie! Thank you for the well wishes, I’m hoping this will be my best year yet 🙂
CONRGATS on year 3! I wish I hadn’t missed 1&2. You are by far my favorite blogger and i know so many other people who agree. Hope you have an even better year 4!
You can always go back and read the archives 🙂 Thank you so much my dear for all the love you send me here!
Congratulations on year 3, and all success you’ve achieved – entirely well deserved! Look forward to reading your adventures for Year 4!
Thank you so much Erin, that means a lot! Year 4 is off to a bang already!
Congratulations on 3 years Alex! I’m enjoying following your fantastic journeys with you and, as always, appreciate your honesty about the highs and lows as well as taking inspiration from your adventures. Looking forward to year 4! J x
Thank you so much Joella! I try to keep it real around here… I think it’s best for everyone involved 🙂 I don’t have to keep up a show, and no one can accuse me of selling a false image, ha.
What an incredible year you have had. It must have been quite emotional for you putting this post together reflecting on all the memories and fun times you have had. Congrats on a very successful year!
It is indeed emotional! It’s a really nice way to remind myself to be grateful, and also reflect on what I want to do differently in the future.
Cheers to you!
I find it somewhat bizarre that I just stumbled upon your blog last week when trying to decide whether or not to finally attend a full moon party (I did go, and your guide could not have better prepared me for it) because I too have been finding my footing as a digital nomad since shortly after finishing my undergrad in 2011 and rely considerably on the advice of adventurers like you who share the pros, cons, costs, and details of their experiences when deciding where to travel or hang out next, but I guess there is no dearth of similar sites in the blogosphere and perhaps this is a reflection of the more recent success you’ve had in making a living off of your blog. So congratulations!
Really, I just want to rain praise on you because your blog is engaging and highly readable (your photos are excellent too! btw) and I can only imagine that it has benefited thousands of travelers already and will attract thousands more as you and it continue to grow. I wish you the best in accomplishing your goals and look forward to following your adventures in Wanderland!!
Hey Jason, glad you had fun at the Full Moon Party! Thanks for all your kudos and congratulations 🙂 It’s been a great journey indeed!
Congrats on making it to year 4 darling!! Very proud of you and your amazing blog. xxxx
Thank you miss Lou! I can’t wait to see you this summer!
Congratulations on your three years of travel Alex! I simply LOVE your blog, it is one of few travel blogs I constantly read. Stumbled upon your blog while doing research for my own big travel and travel blog. You are a true inspiration, both your writing and photography! Keep up the good work, looking forward to follow your fourth year! 🙂
Thank you so much Maria, I love hearing that! I appreciate you following along and will try to keep it interesting in year four 🙂
It has been a joy to read many of your tales, both fresh and old (I’ve enjoyed many from ‘the archives’)
Hopefully one day we can share war stories over a drink!
Thank you so much Chris. And yes that would be great — until then, a virtual cheers!
Consider me a boycott until you point yoself to south Asia and/ or ‘Straya. Pow!
Hey man, I’ve got to pace myself! Don’t want to run out of new countries to go to or anything…
Happy anniversary Alex! I am sorry I haven’t commented for a while. I have been traveling a lot lately, but will return from Brazil to Peru next week to settle down again for a bit. just wanted to say that I am really looking forward to reading about your upcoming adventures and I am sure that your fourth year will be even more successful.
Thank you so much Tammy! I’ve missed you 🙂 There’s a lot of exciting things coming up, and I know they wouldn’t be as fun for me if I wasn’t sharing them here. Say hi to Peru for me!
I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! Your blog continues to be one of my favorites out there, not only for the writing, but the topics and the overall look and feel of the site. I am so happy for you. Here’s to many more blogaversarys! See you in SE Asia!! <3
Thank you my dear! And can’t wait for a girly weekend somewhere in the Kingdom…
Congrats on what sounds like a very successful year 3! So great to finally meet you and all the best in year 4,5,6 and beyond 🙂
Man, I knew I forgot something from the highlights 🙂 Lovely meeting you both as well and hope it happens again soon!
Great post, Alex! Your statistics over the past year are staggering! Good luck on reaching your goals for your 4th year 🙂
Thank you both so much! I’m on my way there 🙂
CONGRATS! Crazy how time flies, right? I’m glad that I can call you my colleague.
When you visiting us in Austin? 😀
Thank you! And Austin is SO HIGH on my US Bucket List. I had actually hoped to get there this summer but things got tossed around. Definitely hoping it gets into the Year Four roundup!
All I can say is WOW… and Congratulations!
Thanks Monnette! Much appreciated 🙂
I just discovered your blog, and I just binge read all of your monthly roundups over this past week 😛
I’m planning a trip to India and Taipei over winter break and then backpacking through Europe next summer. I’ve traveled a lot through the US but never internationally and I’m so excited to start! I am completely obsessed with planning my trips and I love reading about your travels!! Thank you so much for sharing your adventures.
Hey Katie, thank you so much! This was a lovely comment to read and I’m excited for you for your upcoming travels! There’s nothing like that first big trip 🙂 Enjoy the planning binge, it’s one of my favorite parts!
What a trip… I’m just discovering your blog and already love it! Did you do the webdesign by yourself? It’s lovely!!
Actually, my friend Hannah over at Further Bound did it — check out my Obsessions page for more information!
Congrats for your such a great success, however,I am looking here India missing from the list. India is too tourism friendly country. Welcome to India!
Someday, perhaps 🙂 There’s a bit world out there and I’m moving pretty slowly!
hi alex, its such a great journey u have here
Thank you Winny! I can’t believe my Year 4 roundup is coming so soon!
I have to say…Congrats! it was an amazing year for you! You inspired me to keep blogging and follow my dreams and I quiting my 9-5 job to blogging full time next year!
That’s so lovely to hear, Sara! Best of luck with all your upcoming adventures. Wow… I can’t believe I’m almost coming up on year four!
WOW- Alex, I am a new reader (joined to look over all your advice on Peru and Ecuador, and you are my new favorite blogger to follow HANDS DOWN).
I love your raw and real attitude and writing style. This post is such a personal insight at your life – the bliss, the flaws, and the magic.
You truly are an inspiration for travelers, female bloggers just starting out and already so overwhelmed on not having the followers or whatever (me) and really anyone going after their dreams.
What a year you’ve had! Congrats 🙂
Hey Phoebe! Thank you so much for your lovely words! You made my morning. You found this post just in time… I can’t believe I’m about to post my FOURTH year roundup post! And no stress, you’ll get there someday too if you want to — the readers will come. Hope you’ll keep following along 🙂
I am soooo not someone who writes on the internets but when I took my 3 month trip to Thailand I obsessively checked this blog and it shaped my entire time over there. I am looking to take another loooong trip and I would love for some direction on where to head. You haven’t done a top 10 since 2011 and I am dying to know where these new destinations land on your list. Help a girl out =)
You are so sweet Michele! It’s so rewarding to hear that. I don’t know if I could ever rank the places I’ve been! (Even back when I did a “top 10” it was kind of a joke because at the time I’d only been to ten countries, ha.) But who knows, maybe I’ll try now that I reached the big 3-0.
Congratulations! You are an inspiration to us newbies. You show us that it is possible to live a fulfilling life and following your dreams is achievable.
Thank you so much Elisa. That means a lot! And check out my recent year four roundup… made it another year 🙂
I just recently found your blog and I LOVE it! It is so inspiring to read about your adventures. I just moved to Germany from the US only 6 months ago, i cant imagine what i’ll be thinking/feeling 2.5 years from now!
I bet you’ll be feeling pretty great 🙂 Enjoy the journey — and thanks for the kind words on my blog!
I just drop by to say hi. 😀
Hi back! 🙂
You should visit Argentina, as you seem to enjoy staying in a single country for a long period while travelling. Argentina is the perfect country to do so. There you can find the most European influenced capital in South America, some of the most impressive falls in the world, the glaciers, the wine region, the Swiss-German inspired ski town of Bariloche and the nearby lake district, the national parks in the northwest and more. I love reading your yearly round up posts!
Actually, I am heading to Argentina soon… but just for a day! I’m actually heading to Brazil for 4-6 weeks in April and part of that will include Iguassu Falls and a day trip over to the Argentina side.
Because you are travel lover, here is something that will interest you : We are INDOSOLE (tire soled footwear https://indosole.com/) and our founder Kyle Parsons did a TEDx talk in Bali about conscious consumerism and upcycling. I think it would really interest you, so here is the link : https://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Redesigning-our-consumer-habits;search%3Akyle%20parsons
Thanks for the heads up — I’ll give it a watch!
Your blogs are too good. Keep exploring the world, and share about your journeys with all your fans and followers. Cheers!
Thanks Aryan! Appreciated!
Such a good blog with such a fresh perspective! I am sure COVID must have postponed many of your travel plans, but I do hope you are starting to go out again!
It’s been a busy year 🙂 Enjoying blogging about it, and being back on the travel grind!